Summary

  • After your baby is born, a maternal and child health nurse from your local area will visit your home.
  • Maternal and child health nurses work in partnership with families to care for babies and young children until they start school. The service is free for all Victorian families.
  • You will visit a maternal and child health nurse at 10 key ages and stages from birth to three and a half years.
  • Your nurse can help you with things like breastfeeding and feeding your child; sleep and settling, making sure your child is growing, learning and developing well; being a parent and looking after yourself.

Congratulations on becoming a new parent!

This is your first key age and stage visit with a maternal and child health nurse – there are 10 visits in total from the birth  of your baby to when your child is three and a half years.

On this first visit, a nurse from your local community usually comes to your home. The rest of the appointments will be at a maternal and child health service in your municipality.

The purpose of these visits is to check how you and your child are progressing, obtain advice and address any issues you may have. 

Don't forget your 'green book'

When your baby was born, you should have received a copy of My Health, Learning and Development – green book. This book belongs to you and your baby and is full of information about early child development, and services and support.

Make sure you take your green book with you each time you see your nurse so you can jot down any issues, and record information on your baby's growth and development. 

If you don't have a green book, let your nurse know.

What happens at my first maternal and child health visit?

This visit is a chance for you and your maternal and child health nurse to get to know each other and talk about any concerns.

Topics covered in this visit will include:  

  • safe sleeping 
  • safety in the home 
  • immunisations 
  • feeding your baby (includes breastfeeding and bottle feeding) 
  • how play helps learning and development 
  • family relationships and wellbeing. 

At each key age and stage visit you will be given handouts relating to the topics covered. See the tip sheets below for this information. 

What is my baby doing at this key age and stage?

Even at this very young age, your newborn is ready to learn about the world around them. They might be:

  • spending lots of time sleeping, feeding and crying
  • turning their eyes towards lights and sounds
  • making sudden jerky movements when asleep
  • grasping your fingers when you place them in your baby's hand
  • looking into your eyes.

What to tell your nurse

Don't be afraid to tell your nurse about any other issues or concerns you may have.

Activity ideas for this key age and stage

It's never too early to help your baby learn and develop – you may like to:  

  • respond quickly and lovingly when they seek your attention
  • smile and make facial expressions at them
  • talk to them in a soothing voice
  • hold and cuddle them
  • talk and sing songs to them.

Have you got your baby bundle?

If you are a first-time parent (after July 2019) and live in Victoria, you may eligible to receive the Victorian Government’s baby bundle which contains nursery essentials and key parenting information and resources to support the health, development and wellbeing of your baby. 

Tell your maternal and child health nurse if you did not receive one.

Where to get help

Tip sheets for this visit

More information

Parenting

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Maternal and child health

Parenting basics

Family structures

Communication, identity and behaviour

Raising healthy children

Common childhood health concerns

Immunisation

Keeping yourself healthy

Child safety and accident prevention

Grief and trauma

Support for parents

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Maternal and Child Health and Parenting

Last updated: October 2019

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